Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4) Review
Everyone has their favorite superhero and may be hesitant to see them represented in a movie or video game adaptation. For me that hero is Spider-man. As a kid, I grew up watching the 90s Spider-Man animated series and the few comics I owned were mostly from The Amazing Spider-Man series. One of my favorite movies is Sam Rami's Spiderman 2. With Spider-Man being a fan favorite it was inevitable that a new game would come along, and I was optimistic with Insomniac Games, the developers of Ratchet and Clank, we manning the helm. At the same time, I was apprehensive that it could turn out to be a disappointment like Sam Rami's Spider-Man 3 or both The Amazing Spider-Man films. I was actually on the fence about buying it but decided to purchase it digitally when it released.
I've been playing it almost non-stop and glad to say that it this is one of the best games of the year. There is so much the game does right, the most important of which is the sense of immersion as you feel as you play the role of Spider-Man. The game drops you into the shoes of Peter, who has already had his power for 8 years. He has to balance the responsibility of Spider-Man, helping Aunt May who manages a homeless shelter for the residents of New York and his work at a lab. The game already expects you to know his backstory, and who doesn't at this point, and collectibles scattered throughout the city reference many of the supervillains he has already taken down.
The best part of the game is definitely the way you are able to web sling across the entire city. The game does have the option of fast-traveling once you get to a certain point in the story but I found myself actually wanting to get to the destination without it. This actually solves the problem some critics have about quick travel and how it breaks the sense of immersion in a game if you are able to instantly get from point A to B. As you web sling to your next objective, you will come across side quests, encounters will criminals, challenges, collectibles and more that open up as you progress through the story. You can fly over rooftops, between building, and almost swerve between cars. The city is of New York is huge and you'll be free to explore the entire map once you start. The game looks amazing during the day or night, and you'll see famous landmarks like the Met museum or Central Park, and Marvel easter eggs, like Avenger Tower, scattered throughout the city.
If you have played RockSteady's Batman games you're bound to see a lot of similarities, from combat, stealth, and other mechanics. For example, Spider-Man has basically a detective mode that highlights important items by clicking in the right thumbstick. You can also take down enemies without being detected while perched above them or go in close for a takedown. They even have a similar way of alluding to or more characters that do not directly appear in the game. I even felt a parallel between an encounter with the Scorpion and Scarecrow in both games. The combat makes it easy to target an enemy close by or a sniper from range. That's not an easy feat when a large number of enemies can be attacking you at once. Using Spider-Man's spider-sense which appears around his head like in the comics, you can avoid any damage if your timing is right. Not that any of this is a negative of the game, but it may not be as revolutionary as those who already have been introduced to these mechanics.
While completing tasks in the game you will be awarded tokens that can be used to unlock new costumes, skills and upgrade gadgets. By the end of the game you will have a lot more skills, gadgets, and suit powers to utilize during a fight compared to when you started, making side quests and extras worth doing. Nothing feels like filler or wasted time, you will always be rewarded with an upgrade or some extra content to wrap up the task. Even if you don't want to change the costume for Spider-Man because it changes his appearance during cut-scenes, you still get access to a new power that you can use on your favorite suit. This was a great idea because I thought that some of the costumes were distracting but had a good power I wanted to equip.
One of the main reason's I was hesitant to purchase the game at release, at full price was because a headline I saw said the game was on the shorter side about 20 hours. However, that isn't counting in all the side quests, collectibles, challenges, and encounters that are optional. If you are taking your time, the game could easily take you 30-40 hours which is a good amount of time. So if you're looking for value, I would say that the full retail price is worth it if you are a fan of Spider-Man or Marvel.
The game isn't perfect and there are a couple of things I could nitpick about. First is that the game is too easy, even on the most difficult setting. There are frequent autosaving points between battles that don't require you to be too skilled in combat. The challenge comes in during the optional missions that have you take on the Taskmaster's challenges, but I wish the main game was more difficult. Sometimes I would die expecting to restart the mission from the beginning but would actually restart ahead of where I actually died.
Another thing that I didn't like about the game was when you take control of Mary Jane or Miles Morales. As Spider-Man you can choose to use stealth or direct combat in almost all the missions. However, during the game when you control these other two characters, you must be forced to do stealth missions. I found the stealth mechanic to be too lenient with enemies taking an unusually long time to discover you even if you are in their line of sight. The developers do try to mix it up by changing up the gameplay during these segments. For example, Miles can use his ability to hack certain things to distract guards or have MJ use one of Spider-Man's devices to distract patrols. But again because the difficulty is so easy, together with the autosaving, I ended up rushing through these not needing to plan out my route compared to a game like Metal Gear Solid.
The only thing I was disappointed about the game was the E3 2018 trailer. For those that were anticipating the game, I'm sure many of you already watched it. This was one of the best segments of the game, and it was completely spoiled by the trailer. Usually, trailers would be different or just a fraction of a larger part, but the game play's out pretty much exactly the same as the trailer. This is why I try to avoid trailers for movies and games, because of these spoilers but it's hard if I want to keep up on gaming news. Knowing that this was one of the best scenes leading up to the climax of the story, they could have saved it for the players to experience on their own and kept it a surprise. I'm guessing it was more of a marketing strategy since they wanted to promote the game as much as possible even at the detriment of the overall experience.
Marvel's Spider-Man is a great game that I'm sure has sequels on its way, aside from the confirmed DLC for the game. If you have ever been a Marvel fan or enjoy action adventure games, you should play this game. If I was to rank this game I would give it an A. The reason I wouldn't give it an S, or my perfect score is because I don't feel it was an innovation. It borrows a lot from the Arkham Batman games and while it does everything well a majority of the game feels too familiar.
Thanks again for visiting. Let me know in the comments or forums what you guys thought of the game.